Thursday, July 25, 2024

Asian Athletics C’ship: Focus on Tajinderpal in Bangkok as Karanveer drops out with dope test

Asian record holder Tajinderpal Singh Toor of India is all set to defend his men’s shot put title at the July 12-16 Asian Athletics Championships to be held in Bangkok, Thailand even as fellow shot-putter Karanveer Singh was dropped from the squad that left the country following a positive dope test.

The Indian contingent will leave on Saturday night for the continental competition in batches from Delhi and Bengaluru.

The 28-year-old Toor, who set the Asian Record with an effort of 21.77 metres recently, will be defending the gold he won in the 2019 edition held in Doha, Qatar, with a throw of 20.22m. Since then Toor has gained more experience and is currently the leading shot putter at the continental level, with a season’s best of 21.77m. The 2021 edition was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chief national athletics coach Radhakrishnan Nair reportedly said he had a good chance of retaining the gold. “He (Toor) has a bright chance of winning a gold medal,” Nair was quoted as saying in the reports.

But the squad suffered a setback before departure as Karanveer Singh returned a positive test in an out-of-competition dope test conducted recently. Karanveer was one of the 54 players named in the Indian squad for the continental championships.

Reports had started doing rounds since the morning that Karanveer Singh had failed an out-of-competition dope test at the SAI camp at the National Institute of Sport, Patiala. Having returned a positive urine test conducted by National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) and faces a four-ban.

Besides men’s shot put, India could be expecting medals in three other field events — javelin throw, long jump and triple jump in Thailand.

International javelin thrower Rohit Yadav, Manu DP; long jumper Murali Sreeshankar and triple jumpers Praveen Chithravel and Abdulla Aboobacker will be the athletes to watch during the five-day continental competition in Thailand.

The chief national coach also picked middle and long-distance events like 800m, 1500m and 5000m as having good chances of finishing on the podium in Bangkok. India’s hopes will also be in the decathlon with Tejaswin Shankar in great form.

Focus in the women’s track race will be 100m hurdle, 200m, 800m, 5000m and 3000m steeplechase. Andhra Pradesh’s international 100m hurdles specialist Jyothi Yarraji will make her continental debut in Bangkok. Going by her current performance she has clocked sub-13 seconds in 100m hurdles a couple of times this season and will be a top contender for a medal. Jyothi will also compete in the 200m event.

Commonwealth Games bronze medallist in women’s javelin throw, Annu Rani will also look ahead to add another continental medal to her kitty. At the 2019 edition of the continental championship in Doha, she won silver.

Swapna Barman (heptathlon), Shaili Singh and Ancy Sojan (both long jump) are other athletes in the field events who have a good chance of winning medals in Bangkok, the chief athletics coach added.

In the 2019 edition held in Doha, India bagged won 16 medals – two gold, seven silver and 7 bronze to finish fifth in the medal tally behind Bahrain, China, Japan and Uzbekistan in that order.

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